Words Kids Need to Hear is another parenting-how-to offering by David Staal in which he explores seven key phrases or words every child needs to hear, words that strengthen the heart.
Although these words should be heard first and most from parents, they are universal. Every relationship can benefit by using these words sincerely, often, in the right context and in any language.
- I Believe In you
- You Can Count On Me
- I Treasure You
- I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me
- I Love You
The book isn’t long – 138 pages – but it is sufficiently deep to merit reading. Dave doesn’t hide the wisdom it contains behind excessive verbiage. Its pithy statements shoot right to the heart of the issue.
- “Sometimes the words kids really need to hear are those they say to a parent willing to listen.”
- Parents to children: “We will stand by your side when you make good choices and bad choices.”
- “A world of difference exists between I congratulate you and I treasure you.”
- “The skill to apologize and request forgiveness typically comes handed down from a parent or other close adult who models such behavior.”
- “The words kids need to hear can also arrive as words they read.”
- “It’s not your child’s responsibility to make you feel loved”…but…”few parents know how to transfer their heartfelt love to the hearts of their children.”
And that last remark expresses the real intent of the book. Dave isn’t encouraging us to speak to the heads of our children – only with words – he gives these principles context.
- We express belief in kids when their self-belief is at its lowest.
- We spend time with our kids when our schedules are least forgiving.
- We apologize and request forgiveness as soon as possible, sometimes rearranging our schedules to do so, not after time has congealed the malleability of the heart.
- We express love for our kids most effectively when they are acting in unlovable ways.
And each context is illuminated with anecdotal illustrations to show the impact these words, and the corresponding actions at the just the right time, can have on the heart of a child.
He doesn’t target only the traditional first-wife-first-husband-two-parent household. He makes it clear that single and surrogate parents have an important place in a child’s life.
He doesn’t, in the name of parenting, concentrate on what kids should be. He focuses on changing the parents and suggests the best soil in which kids grow is found in the behavior of adults. The bad qualities we loathe in children are nothing more than outgrowths of misguided or neglected parental actions.
He doesn’t suggest one method fits all. David draws on the experience of many different parents who implement the sentiments of these important words in a variety of ways and suggests you too can devise different but effective ways to accomplish the same goals. He also frequently quotes other professionals.
Each chapter includes a cautionary statement to help parents avoid using these strength giving words in manipulative ways.
The book includes reference notes and three appendices with questions for further study. The questions can be used individually or in groups.
David is more than qualified to write this book. He is a husband and father of two children. He was director of Promiseland, the children’s ministry at Willow Creek Community Church, a premier program to say the least. And he is the editor of Today’s Childen’s Ministry newsletter, a joint venture with Christianity Today International.
Other books by David:
- Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week – Coauthored.
- Leading Your Child to Jesus: How Parents Can Talk with Their Kids about Faith
- And Leading Kids to Jesus: How to Have One-on-One Conversations about Faith.
Get all the books at Amazon inexpensively. It’s a small price to pay to improve parenting skills.
A great companion book is Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.
Drawing on a wealth of data from the Gallup International Research & Education Centre, Marcus provides great insights on how to isolate a person’s particular blend of talents and strengths. An invaluable tool for every caring parent.